Visit to the Kauai Coffee Company…Kona or Kauai, which is better?…

Tom and a scarecrow at the Kauai Coffee Company.

In our old lives, for a special occasion, we’d purchase a pound of Kona coffee, assuming it was the best coffee in the world. Day to day, we drank McGarvey’s Kona Blend which was wonderful in itself.

The sign at the entrance to the Kauai Coffee Company, which we visited on Thursday.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re not coffee experts. I fill my 14-ounce insulated mug once and that’s it for me for the day. Tom usually has two ceramic mugs, three once in a while, for his fill of the day.

Tom was busy sampling the brewed coffee in the café.

Until we arrived in Kauai and he decided to drop a few pounds joining me in my way of eating,  he’d add both Creamora and sugar. Now he’s down to real cream only (which I also use) since forgoing the sugar, not allowed on our healthy diet. 

This guy was explaining the roasting process which is explained in this link from the Kauai Coffee Company’s website.
The beans spinning in the roaster. It was difficult to take a good photo with the crowds gathered around this display.

After our morning coffee, we never desire more.  In essence, we’d hardly coffee addicts or coffee aficionados.  On travel days, we don’t have any coffee, fearing the perfunctory trips to the bathroom after a few cups. This further illustrates our lack of passion for caffeine or coffee.

An antique coffee grinding machine.
An antique coffee roasting machine.

However, taste and a mild brew are most important to us. We cringed at a strong cup of coffee such as we often had in Europe and on cruise ships. For a 10 cup brew (actually ends up making just enough for both of us in the morning) we use a paltry three scoops of coffee in the brew basket resulting in a toasty mild flavor, we both prefer.

A display of various grinders and brewers.

So, I encourage those of you that like strong coffee to take our perceptions with a grain of salt. However, any of our readers/friends/family who’d ever visited us in our old lives, know we made one fine cup of coffee in our built-in automated French press machine.

An antique handheld coffee grinder.

The challenge since we arrived in Kauai has been: Do we continue to buy 100% Kona coffee at $12.95 for a 12-ounce bag or do we spend $8.95 for an equal-sized bag of Kauai Coffee Company’s brew? On the past three islands, we visited we purchased the Kona. After all, we are in Hawaii. 

A display of the multitude of offerings for sale at the gift shop. We didn’t buy any coffee when it’s lower-priced at the local Princeville grocery store.

Once we arrived in Kauai, noticing the larger displays of Kauai Coffee Company’s varied offerings and of course, the lower pricing, we decided to give it a try. Without a doubt, we preferred the milder, less bitter nature of the Kauai coffee, grown right here on the island.

What coffee has to do with clothing baffles us other than the fact that tourists “buy, buy, buy”.”  Not us.

On my birthday outing, we’d decided to stop by the Kauai Coffee Company’s farm for a tour of the grounds, the gift shop, and roasting presentation which we easily found as we drove along Highway 50 until we spotted the sign at the turnoff at Halewili Road.

Neither of us had ever seen coffee plants.

A short distance down the road we entered the parking lot which although fairly full wasn’t so much so that we’d be waiting in lines to get inside and to take the self-tour. Private tours were offered but we decided to go off on or own to avoid waiting for an hour for the next scheduled tour time.

The early buds.

Entering the gift shop and museum immediately filled our senses with the blissful smells of varying types and flavors of richly brewed coffee. In the museum/café area, dozens of brew pots were set up for free sampling their abundant varieties. I tried the Banana Nut brew while Tom opted for the plain medium roast. We both were thrilled with our choices although they were a bit strong for us.

There were hundreds of rows of coffee plants beyond the walking path.

I must admit that I do like flavored coffees. But, Tom, my guy with the simple palate, prefers unflavored. As a result of only one coffee pot, we choose the unflavored. Also, we’ve found that flavored coffees tend to make the coffee brewer hold the flavors affecting future unflavored brews. 

We hadn’t seen bristle-like plants such as this, since we were in Africa. 

After a few tiny cups of our selections, watching a video on coffee roasting while sitting in the chair provided, we wandered about the museum and then headed outdoors for the tour of the plantation, a former sugar cane plantation, following paved trails through the various coffee plants joining many other tourists.

This is a harvesting machine. Zoom in to read the sign.

Much to our surprise, we really enjoyed walking the path, seeing the various plants, observing the beans, the flowers, and the greenery growing on row after row of plants. The entire plantation wasn’t open to the public but a large enough area was designated via the path to ensure we had a good perspective.

Cute, eh?

Signs were posted at various locations which we stopped to read along the way. Tom always reads such signs while I breeze over them while I’m more preoccupied with taking photos of interesting points along the way.

Coffee sorting area.

After an hour or more, we were back on the road, ready to find the next attraction in our tour of the south and western side of the island of Kauai. Tomorrow, we’ll be back with our visit to the popular pristine Barking Sands Beach and a beautiful Japanese rock garden.

Another coffee-related cute sign.
Whoever thinks much of how coffee is grown and handled? It was interesting to see the process at the Kauai Coffee Company.

Back at home, we’re content as we can be with gorgeous sunny days and today’s upcoming visit to the Makai Golf Club for my workout and an hour poolside visiting with our friend Richard and others we’ve come to know.  It couldn’t be more enjoyable. 

The old hand drying and sorting process.
At times, the beans grow outrageously large.

Later, we embarked on another walk through the neighborhood to see the progress of the albatross chicks and to discover what other wonders of Kauai we can stumble upon. Life is good.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, February 22, 2014:

Upon awakening in the morning, our first visitor was waiting for us by the braai (the barbecue area) hoping for a pellet or two. Of course, I immediately complied. Our time in Marloth Park was coming to a quick end causing me a bit of angst. I didn’t want to leave. Tom, as always was ready for the next adventure. For details from that date, please click here.

Continuation of the road trip to Poipu Beach…A wide array of sites to see…

The horse seemed happy to see me as I approached the fence,with giving us his version of a smile.
As we drove away, the horse’s eyes stayed with us. He, too, enjoyed the short interaction.
Unable to see the Waimea Canyon due to the vog (fog and volcanic smog) the ride back down the mountain was relatively quick.  As we lowered in elevation, the air began to clear, although the sky was still hazy.
Back at sea level, the sky cleared and the scenery was breathtaking.

With a plan to turn right toward Barking Sands Beach (photos tomorrow) once we reached the main highway, Highway 50, we continued along the road, spotting the photos ops we’re showing here today. 

This creek wandered along the quiet road.

When the above horse smile at us, animal lovers that we are, we couldn’t stop laughing. It only takes a minute of interaction with an animal to get my head spinning longing for more. 

Another road leads us to another area of the military installation, located on the ocean.
Military installations were positioned at the end of several roads we explored, preventing us from going further.

After seeing this horse, I began looking at the chickens and roosters along the highway with a renewed interest.  OK, I’ll admit it.  I’ve loved the chickens since the day we arrived in Kauai. I continue to look at everyone we pass. 

Shortly after we were back on Highway 50, we stopped at the Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary, only spotting a few birds as we wandered the grounds.

Not unlike my fascination with warthogs in Marloth Park, I have a special affinity for the chickens since discovering that they are much smarter than previously assumed. 

Here’s the ‘Alae ke’oke’o as shown in the poster below, one of only a few birds we were able to see at the Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary.
This poster helped us determine the bird we’ve shown in the water.  Not quite sure how to pronounce it but it’s an ‘Alae ke’oke’o. Many Hawaiian words and names are difficult to learn to pronounce.
The wetlands at the bird sanctuary.

Lately, I’ve been making a clucking sound at the roosters and surprisingly they approach me with fascination, thinking I’m “one large hen” they need to pursue. One almost climbed into the car with me as shown in this photo below. It all provides us with fodder for laughter.

This rooster wanted to jump into the car with me after I’d made clucking sounds. 

Once we reached the highway after the interaction with the horse we headed along the western side of the island. With a map in hand we were able to locate appealing attractions along the highway stopping many times to investigate and take photos, enjoying every step of the way.

This dirt road would have taken us to the very end of the road as shown on the map on the western portion of Kauai. Unfortunately, the little car would have been damaged on the rough road forcing us to turn around.

Tomorrow, we’ll share our tour of the Kauai Coffee Company where we had an opportunity to see how coffee was roasted, taste a variety of their blends, and wander a path through the coffee estate, a former sugar cane plantation. We had no idea how much fun we’d have visiting a coffee farm!

See you later with lots more!

                                           Photo from one year ago today, February 21, 2014:

A year ago on my birthday, Nomsa and Zeff stopped by to sing Happy birthday in Afrikaans to me and exchange warm hugs while we were living in the African Reunion house. Having cared for our needs for three months it would be difficult to say goodbye a week later. Notice the sign behind Zeff’s head, “Take risks. If you win you will be happy.  If you lose you will be wise.” Then and now we find significance in those words as we continue in our travels. For details from that date, please click here.